Ancient Roman and Greek Coins: Educational pages 
      Table of Contents:(Click the images to go to the pages)

   Answers to Frequently Asked Questions 
Beginners, begin here with the FAQ page
This coin: A common silver denarius of the Roman emperor Septimus Severus, 193-211 AD
   How to buy ancient coins
   A list of dealers and auction sites.
   Associated pages about buying on eBay (which is risky) 
   and about selling, and about
   how ancient-coin auctions work (with examples of unexpected costs.)
   For beginners who ask "What should I collect?

Pages which are especially important for those who have collected US coins:
    The difference between grade and condition
    Commentary on a difference between collecting US and ancient coins.
    Information about rarity and its (lack of) importance for cost (for intermediate collectors).  
    On the numismatic value of ancient coins
    Information about avoiding fakes.
    About moving up from "beginner" to "intermediate" collector.  
    Ancient coins as an investment.  


                       Annotated Roman coin educational links (with some Greek and Byzantine coin links too).
                         Links to web sites that emphasize particular emperors.

(These are educational pages and nothing here is for sale. If you are looking for ancient coins for sale, here is my site, Augustus Coins, and here are links to many other sites.)

What's new?  2024, April 8: A type set of the AE coins of Constans (333-350).
       2023, Aug. 7: The type-set of AE coins of Constantius II (324-361).
       2023, May 23:  Collecting ancient coins in the old days. My story. 
       2023, May 10: Coins of the wars between Rome and Persia. 
       2023, May 7:  My random thoughts on the word "rare", the fees for selling coins, on buying for other people, the effect of slabs on prices, and the apparent recent high prices. 
      2023, May 5:  RESTITVT ORIENTIS: Who restored the Roman East? 
      2023, April 17:  If you buy at foreign auctions, it may cost more than you expect. Here is how that happens--explained with examples of unexpected costs.


Contents:  Next are links to sites and pages. After that, the list repeats, but with one coin of each type illustrated. Skip down to those entries for the period of the Roman Republic, the third century, the tetrarchy, and Constantine

For beginners FAQ (the main page for beginners). 
   Possible collecting themes
   Annotated links to other websites.  
   Ancient-coin dealers.  
   eBay fakesellers to avoid.
   The difference between grade and condition.  
   What gives ancient coins value? (Maybe a bit advanced for beginners.) 
   A note for buyers about the sizes of coins in images.

Large sites :  
   All reverse types on late Roman AE (364-450).  
   Early Christian Symbols on Roman coins.  
   Ancient Imitations
   Introduction to Byzantine coins,
   Byzantine coins of the Cherson mint.
   Coins of the First Tetrarchy and later (284-324) (Links to many pages) 
   VOTA coins of the Roman empire. 
   Reverse types that are unique to a particular emperor. 

Unusual denominations:  
   The Republican and imperial quinarius,
   The early Roman imperial quadrans and semis coins,
   The late Roman silver argenteus,
   Late Roman AE fractions (mostly from Trier),
   The quarter-follis (c. 305),
   The "radiate fraction" from Diocletian's coin reform,
   The silver siliqua of the fourth century. 

Roman Republican:  
   How dates are determined for coins of the Roman Republic (an advanced topic).

Roman emperors (chronological order):  
   Some types of DIVVS AVGVSTVS.  
   Trajan historical types, (his Parthian victory).  
   Severus Alexander (year 5 at Alexandria).  
   Maximinus I Thrax, the giant.  
   Carus and his family.  
   The First Tetrarchy (Diocletian and colleagues).  
   Constantine as FIL AVG.  
   Constantius II.
   Constantius Gallus.  
   Eudoxia (wife of Arcadius).  
   Type sets of all emperors 364-450.
   Roman coins from the Tripolis mint (Aurelian - Maximian, 270-286). 
   Links to other sites emphasizing particular Roman emperors

Roman, other
   Coins of the Roman wars with Persia
   RESTITVT ORIENTIS. Who restored the Roman East?  
   Rarities of the Roman Rulers
   "Mother of the Camps" on coins of empresses. 
   "Barbarous radiates" of the Gallo-Roman empire (259-274).
   The founding of Constantinople
   Christian symbols on Roman coins.
   Long mintmarks on late Roman coins. 

   Imitations of Roman coin types under Constantine (six pages).  

Late Roman coins
   All reverse types on late Roman AE coins (A very large site).  
   Officina numbers on late Roman coins.

Roman provincial: 
   Antioch in Pisidia
   Legends on coins of Roman Alexandria
   Severus Alexander, year 5 at Roman Alexandria
   Roman ruler rarities on provincial coins.

   Introduction to Byzantine coins.  
   Byzantine coin legends, How to read Byzantine coins
   Justinian at Antioch
   Anonymous folles (10th-11th centuries).
   The Dan Clark collection of early Byzantine coins with a cross above the head.
   A complete list of the Byzantine coins minted at the Cherson mint (7th-11th centuries).
   Links to stories of a few Byzantine emperors (and an empress).
   The coin reform of Alexius I.

   Coins of Panticipaeum (in Crimea). 
   The early triskeles symbol at Aspendos in Pamphylia (Turkey). 
   A page of Greek letters and a few unusual symbols found on ancient coins--useful for copying to posts.

Other regions and cultures:  
   Coins of the Kingdom of the Bosporus.     
   Coins of Persis.  
   Turkoman figural bronze (a supplement to the books of Spengler and Sayles). 
   One early Turkoman type
   The Sasanian King Bahram II (AD 276-293).
   Samanid multiple dirhams (9th-10th C). 

Other pages about collecting:  
   What gives ancient coins value?  
   Ancient coins as an investment.
   Collectors' comments on what they collect (assembled long ago).

   Thoughts about collecting. (Mid 2021) 
   Thoughts about recent high prices for some ancient coins
   Commentary by Frank Robinson on archaeology and collecting

   Guide to Latin pronunciation (not by me). 
   Why your pronunciation doesn't matter much. 

   A few individual coins with interesting stories.
   An amazing brockage restrike
   Links to interesting CoinTalk threads. A second page of links to interesting CoinTalk threads
   Notes for those of you who already have an ancient-coin library
   Contents of Sale Catalogs (by firm)(by collecting theme).


Click on the images to go to the pages.

    Dates:  All of ancient coinage

Possible Collecting Themes and reference works about them

to help answer the question "What should I collect?"

This coin:  A silver Roman provincial coin of Trajan with a camel on the reverse, celebrating his annexation of Arabia in AD 106 . It could be part of a collection of imperial portraits, a collection of coins of Trajan, a collection of Roman provincial coins, or part of a collection of animals on ancient coins.


Educational sites (chronological order):

Date: c. 465 BC and later.

Triskeles, a symbol of Aspendos, Pamphylia (Turkey)
  A discussion of the three-legged type.  [One page]

This coin:  The first type from Aspendos, c. 465-435 BC, a silver stater with a triskeles.


      Date: c. 324 BC. 
  Coins and archaeology work together to identify Seuthes III
  This coin:  Greek king Seuthes III

      [A short page about one type]

    Date: c. 340 - 125 BC. 

The other Bosporus. Coins of Panticapaeum
in the north Black Sea region.

This coin: 28 mm. Pan/bow over arrow over ΠANTI
Struck 340-325 BC.

[One page with the most common AE types.] 


Republican    Dates: Third to First Centuries BC
  Roman Republican Coin Types and their Dating
    Republican coins are not explicitly dated, so how can we know their dates?
   A long timeline page of examples plus a page of theory.

This coin: one of the first types of the silver "denarius" denomination


      Date: First century BC.
  Roman Republican plated imitation in Dacian style


      [A short page about one coin]



    Dates: Roman Republic and Empire to AD 321
 The Quinarius Denomination

   An illustrated discussion of the five time periods with the "quinarius"
  This coin: 16-15 mm. Issue of the moneyer C. Fundanius, 101 BC.

        [A very long page]

   Date:  First Century to Fourth Century 

A collection of coins of the Kingdom of the Bosporus

This coin: King Mithradates III and his step-mother Gepaepyris, struck 39-41. 

[One long page]

   Date:  First Century


  A few coins that commemorate the deification of Augustus

  [One short page]


    Date: First and second centuries

The Quadrans and Semis Denominations
of Roman Imperial Coins  

        An Introduction

This coin: an "anonymous" type with helmeted bust of Mars/cuirass

[A long page]

       Date: 98-117
  Trajan's historical types--especially those that refer to his Dacian Wars.
   This coin: A denarius which depicts Trajan's column, still standing in Rome.

      [One page]

    Date:  116 CE.

Trajan's Parthian War.  
   A sestertius type that explicitly mentions Armenia and Mesopotamia

    [A short page]

        Date: 2nd and 3rd centuries

"Coins and History of the Roman Wars with Persia in the Second and Third Centuries"

  This coin: Septimius Severus celebrates VICT PARTHICAE

    [Two long pages]

     Date: 174-211

MATRI CASTORVM "Mother of the Camps"

   This Coin:  A denarius of Faustina Jr., wife of Marcus Aurelius.

      [One short page]


        Date: 198-212

  Geta, his portraits, 198-212 AD.
   Geta's portraits change as he ages from nine to twenty-two.
   This coin:  His first portrait style.

        [One short page]


Severus Alexander (222-235) "year 5"
coins of Roman Alexandria

   Year 5 (AD 225/6) is particularly interesting because there are Alexandrian year 5 coins from two different years and two different mints. See the page with the explanation

This coin:  A "year 5" coin struck in Rome for the mint of Alexandria, Egypt. 

   [One long page]



M        Date: 235-238   
  Maximinus Thrax, the giant. Roman emperor 235-238. His portrait types.
   Maximinus Thrax issued denarii with three distinct portrait types.

   This coin: The early style portrait.

     [One long page]



        Date: 251-253

  What was Volusian's name?
  Volusian, Augustus, 251-253 AD.

  This coin: Volusian, stuck at Antioch.

     [One short page]

    Date: 259-274

Barbarous radiates of the Gallo-Roman Empire, 259-274

This coin: A imitation of Tetricus I

   [One page]

   Date: 238-274

RESTITVT ORIENTIS. Who restored the Roman East?

This coin: Aurelian, 270-275, with reverse "RESTITVT ORIENTIS" 

   [One page]

        Date: 270-293

 The Tripolis mint of late third century AD Rome
 An illustrated list of all the coin types of the Tripolis mint.
 An educational resource for collectors.

This coin: Tacitus, 276 AD.

      [One long page with links to additional examples]


      Date: 282-285

Carus, Numerian, and Carinus
    Titles and dating

This coin:  Carus with the title "PARTHICO" deified after his death.
    [One long page]


      Date: 284-324

Links to pages about
the coins of the First and Second Tetrarchies and later.
(all pages can be reached from the first, introductory, page): 

"Introduction to the Roman coins of the First Tetrarchy: Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius, and Galerius"

"Roman coins of the Second Tetrarchy"

"Coins of the Roman rulers, July 306 to 324

"Coins of the First Tetrarchy: Pre-Reform Coins of DiocletianMaximianConstantius I, and Galerius"

"Follis types of the First Tetrarchy, 293-305 CE"

"GENIO POPVLI ROMANI: a common late Roman coin type" by emperor
      The same coins organized by mint.

"SACRA MONETA: Roman coins of the First Tetrarchy, 294-305"

Abdication types of Diocletian and Maximian


   Coins of Diocletian  
   GENIO types  
   Commemoratives issued from 306 to 324
   How to distinguish coins of Maximian from coins of Galerius
   The "radiate fraction" a.k.a. "post-reform radiate" denomination.
   The silver argenteus denomination.  
   How coins are dated to the Second Tetrarchy
   After the Second Tetrarchy, 306-324

   Adfini, Cognat, Patri, Socero, under Maxentius at Rome
   Types with FORTVNA
   Antoniniani from Siscia with coded officina numbers 
   DN for "Dominus Noster" on coins c. 305.

       Date: 284-305

Introduction to Roman coins of the First Tetrarchy, 284-305
Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius.

This coin: An aurelianus (antoninianus) of Diocletian.

  [One long page linked to many other pages.]

        Date: 305-306

Roman Coins of the Second Tetrarchy, 305-306
     Constantius, Galerius, Severus II, and Maximinus II

     This coin: A follis of Constantius as Augustus

  [One long page linked to many other pages.]

       Date: 306-307

Coins of the Roman rulers, July 306 to 324
   Constantine, Galerius, Severus II, Maximinus II, Maxentius, Maximian (second reign), Licinius

   This coin:  Constantine as Caesar, 306-307

  [One long page linked to many other pages.]

       Date: 294-305

Follis types of the First Tetrarchy, 293-305 CE.
   An illustrated list of the follis types issued during the First Tetrarchy

This Coin: A follis issued to celebrate Maximian's arrival to Carthage.

  [One long page linked to many other pages.]



       Date: 305-307

Abdication Coins of Roman Emperors
Diocletian and Maximian, 284-305 CE. 

   An illustrated list of all the types.

This coin:  Diocletian as retired emperor. 25 mm.

  [One long page linked to many other pages.]



       Date: 289-290
  Coded Officina Marks of the Roman emperors
  Diocletian and Maximian at Siscia (289-290 AD)

   The unique use of the Jovian and Herculian titles to indicate officina numbers.   
   This coin: Maximian with mintmark incorporating ΛI, part of a code.

       [One page]



   Dates: 293-310      

GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, a common type under the tetrarchy (arranged by ruler). Portraits arranged by mint.
    This coin:  Diocletian from Aquileia

    [Several pages for several emperors]



    Dates: 286-313

Distinguishing Maximian, Galerius, and Maximinus II

      This coin says "MAXIMIANVS" but is of Galerius.
      Find out how to tell them apart

    [One page with lots of examples]


        Date: 293 - 300

  Fortuna under the first tetrachy:
  Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius, and Galerius (293-300 AD) [plus earlier Fortuna types]

   A rare follis type issued only at Trier.

   This coin:  Diocletian/FORTVNAE REDVCI AVGG NN

         [One long page]



    Date: c. AD 300

Late Roman fractions from Trier under the tetrarchy

   An introduction.

This coin: a small, 13 mm, fraction, struck for Diocletian, minted at Trier.
VOT/XX/AVGG, in celebration of his 20th anniversary

    [One long page]



     Dates:  AD 294-310
The Argenteus Denomination
  An illustrated discussion of the history and types of the denomination.
This coin: 20-19 mm. An argenteus of Diocletian, struck 96 (XCVI) to the pound of silver.

   [One very long page.]


      Dates: AD 287-297
    Usurpers who wanted to join the club
    Usurpers under the first tetrarchy
   (the time of Diocletian and Maximian)

   This coin: The usurper Domitius Domitianus at Alexandria, Egypt.

    [A single page about two usurpers] 

        Date: 305-306

  The unusual "
quarter-follis" denomination
  struck 305-306 AD under the tetrarchy

   An illustrated list of all the varieties. An educational resource for collectors.
   This coin: A quarter-follis of Maximinus II.

     [A very long page.]



      Dates: AD 310-311
Adfini, Cognat, Patri, Socero 
      under Maxentius at Rome
Some unusual words found on a commemorative series issued by Maxentius


     [A single short page with four types illustrated]


     Date: 312 AD
Anonymous civic issues under Maximinus II (AD 310-313)
also known as "pagan coinage of the Great Presecution of Christians" and as "Civic coinage.

This coin: 15 mm. Jupiter/Victory
      [A single page with all the types.]

     Date: 319-312 AD

Licinius and varieties of the 

This coin:  Genius holding Victory on globe.

   [One page.]


    Date: 306-310

Constantine as Caesar and as FIL AVG (A.D. 306-310)
  An illustrated article on the the Roman rulers and their mints from 306-310
  when Constantine was awarded the unusual title "Filius Augusti".

This coin: Constantine as "FIL AVG", minted at Antioch.

     [A long article with 33 relevant coins illustrated.]


C        Date: 330-340
CONSTANTINOPOLIS: Roman coins commemorating
  the founding of Constantinople under Constantine.

   A short article here (only about this one common type).
   A complete list and longer article here. (The picture links to this one.)
   This coin:  CONSTANTINOPOLIS/Victory, 330-340 AD.

        [One very long page.]



        Date: 316-364

Christian Symbols on Roman Coins
  A complete list of types from its beginning under Constantine to 364 AD.
   A resource for collectors of late Roman AE coins.

    This coin:  Magnetius, AD 350-353, with a Christian chi-rho reverse type.

     [A large, comprehensive, site]


        Date: 217-363
  Long Mintmarks on Roman Imperial coins.
  A few of the longest mintmarks illustrated.

  This coin:  Julian II, "the Apostate", 361-363 AD.

      [One page]


V      Date: 350
Vetranio, Roman emperor in AD 350: His six AE coin types.
        The Roman emperor Vetranio ruled in the Balkans for ten months in AD 350.
  His AE coin types are listed and illustrated here.
   This coin: Vetranio with the famous early Christian "HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS" reverse.

    [A page with a second page of additional images]


      Date: 351-354
Constantius Gallus, 351-354.  His AE types.

This coin:  FEL TEM REPARATIO, soldier-spearing-fallen-horseman. By far his most common type.

   [One long page about his 10 AE types.]



J        Date: 363-364
Jovian, Roman emperor from June 363 to Febuary 364:
        The Roman emperor Jovian reigned only eight months.
  His AE coin types are listed and illustrated here
   This coin:  Jovian with reverse VOT/V/MVLT/X from Sirmium.

     [One page about his four AE types.]




Gratian       Date: 364-450
   Guide to Late Roman AE Coin Types, AD 364-450

    A complete list of types of emperors Valentinian I through Theodosius II and Valentinian III
    A resource for collectors of Late Roman AE coins.
This coin:  Valens/GLORIA ROMANORVM
                [A very large reference site with many pages]
   Type Sets for the emperors from 364-450


     Dates: 364-375

Officina Numbers on Late Roman Coins
 The unusual use of officina numbers spelled out on issues of Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian.
This coin:  Valens, 364-378 AD, with officina PRIMA.



Eudoxia, wife of Arcadius, Augusta 400-404
  Her two AE types.   

This coin: Her bust right, crowned by the Hand of God
/empress seated facing, crowned by the Hand of God.
[One page]



     Date: 491-1453

Introduction to Byzantine Coins (491-1453)

This coin:  A massive 42 mm reformed "follis" (of 40 nummi) struck by Justinian (527-565) year 13 at Nicomedia.

  A site for beginners about the coins struck under the Byzantine Empire with a few stories that will interest more-advanced collectors too.

     [Six substantial pages.]


     Date: 491-1453

  Byzantine-coin legends. How to read Byzantine coins

This coin:  A coin of Justin II and Sophia with Latin and Greek letters and numerals. 

    [One long page]

Pages on particular Byzantine rulers:  Irene (780-802), Constantine VII and Romanus IBasil I (867-886), the coin reform of Alexius I (1081-1118),  the usurper Isaac Comnenus (1185-1191). 

84       Date: 498-538

The Dan Clark Collection of early
Byzantine copper coins with a cross above the head.

    An extensive collection of unusual cross-above head coins.

This Coin:  Justin I (518-527), Sear 84, with a bold cross above his head.

         [Several pages]


      Date: 527-565

The Byzantine emperor Justinian (527-565 AD)
and the earthquakes at Antioch.

   Byzantine coins of Justinian from Antioch
        [One very long page]

   This coin: Justinian seated facing on a throne


     Date: 425-1071

  Byzantine Coins of Cherson (Kherson)

   The unusual Byzantine types from the city of Cherson in the Crimea.
   A resource for collectors.

   This coin:  The "H" (= 8) pentanummia denomination.

     [A large, comprehensive, site with many pages]


    Date: 10th - 11th centuries

Byzantine "anonymous folles" of the 10th - 11th centuries

  The site illustrates all the types, explains attributions and dates, gives their frequencies, and tells their stories here

This coin: A large 32-30 mm "Class A2" follis attributed to Basil II (the Bulgar Slayer) and Constantine VIII

    [Two substantial pages]

    Date: around 1092 

The coin reform of 1092 under Alexius I

  The changes in the gold and copper denominations

This coin:  The new "hyperpyron" gold denomination. 31 mm!

  [One long page]



Can you think of one emperor who issued coins from one mint with more than five distinctly different mintmarks?
Begin on pages here.   

     Date: 276 - 293

Sasanian King Bahram II

This coin:  29 mm and thin.

[A short page on these coins.]



     Date: 10th century

Huge silver multiple dirhams of the Samanid dynasty.

This coin: Very large diameter! 45 mm!

    [One page]


       Date: 12th - 13th centuries

Turkoman Figural Bronze: Coins of "Foes of the Crusaders."
ID numbers for types from dynasties not listed in the standard reference by Spengler and Sayles.
This coin: Ayyubid. Al Awhad Ayyub (Najm al-Din)
AD 1200-1210

    [One long page.]


Reverse Types:

D    Date: Entire Roman imperial period.
 Some reverse types that are unique to a particular Roman emperor
  in a quiz format (with immediate answers). Can you recognize them?

  This type: Captive seated on a pile of arms. DAC CAP in exergue.

        [A site with several pages and a hundred interesting types explained on linked pages]


   Date: Second to fifth centuries

VOTA coins of the Roman Empire
   Vows to reward the gods for granting a wish were are part of the Roman religion
         A large site about vows recorded on Roman coins

This coin: VOTA SVSCEPTA XX (vows taken for 20 years of reign)
Septimius Severus (193-211) sacrificing at the ceremony celebrating making it to 10 years, while renewing his vows to 20 years. 

        [A very long main page with a dozen pages linked to it]

  Date: Late second century AD

 MARTI CASTRORVM, Mother of the camps

This type was used on the coins of only two empresses.
This coin:  A silver denarius struck for Faustina, Jr., wife of Marcus Aurelius.

[A short page]


     Date:  Third century AD.

ADVENTVS, arrival of the emperor
    The Roman emperor arrives in Rome

This coin: Septimius Severus (193-211) returns to Rome in 202.

    [One page]


    Date: During the Roman empire

PROFECTIO, and other travel types

The Roman emperor departs for war

This coin:  Severus Alexander (222-235), lead by Victory, departs for war in the east. 

    [One long page]

     Date: Roman imperial period.
 The real meaning of SECVRITAS on Roman coins.

  This coin: Caracalla, 196-217 AD

    [A short page with a few examples]






197197      Date: The entire Roman period
Ancient Imitations of Roman Coins
  An educational site about genuinely ancient coins that were imitations or counterfeits in their day.
This coin: An ancient counterfeit Roman Republican denarius.

      [A very large site with one long main page and many pages linked to it]


   Ancient Coin Auction Catalogs: Contents
    An educational site for ancient coin collectors about sale catalogs.

    A related site where catalogs are grouped by collecting theme.

This catalog: M&M 37, Basel, Switzerland.

         [Two long pages linked to many short "theme" pages.]



Links to interesting CoinTalk threads.  

Links to useful notes and printouts for a few good books, including the Seaby introductory series (Greek, Roman, Roman Provincial), SNG Copenhagen, BCD Peloponessos, Celator index, SAN index, Ras Suarez' rarity rankings, Latin pronunciation, list of Greek authorities, and a few legends of Roman Alexandria translated. 


                                       The end of the table of contents for the educational site.

Here are ancient coins and related literature for sale.